After months of grueling fighting, Ukrainian forces are withdrawing from the city of Severodonetsk, a key strategic stronghold in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. A regional Ukrainian military chief accused Russia of destroying most of the city's infrastructure during an intense shelling campaign.
Here are the latest headlines on Russia's war on Ukraine:
- Several Ukrainian units still remain in Severodonetsk, as the withdrawal is expected to last a few days, head of the local district military administration, Roman Vlasenko, told CNN.
- Ukrainian forces in the city held on much longer than many observers anticipated, but the military has clearly now decided that there was nothing more to defend -- and that hundreds of civilians sheltering at a chemical plant were in greater danger every passing day, writes CNN's Tim Lister.
- Ukraine's long-term goal of joining the European Union received a boost Thursday, after the bloc's 27 member states agreed that the country should be given candidate status — a significant step on the path to full membership.
- German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock accused Russia of using ''hunger as a weapon of war'' and holding ''the whole world hostage,'' ahead of a key gathering on Friday in Berlin.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says his country is “grateful” to US President Biden and the American people for the latest package of $450 million in military aid.
- As he marked four months since Russia began its invasion, Zelensky wrote on his official Telegram channel on Friday: “Everything changed for Ukraine four months ago. We became a country in army boots. A country in tanks, aircraft, ships. A country in trenches and shelters.”
- A Russian-installed politician in the occupied southern Ukrainian city of Kherson was killed on Friday, according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti. Ukrainian officials claimed responsibility.